This Dusty Earth: Witchcraft in the City

A blog about mental health, magic, and the cycles of nature in parched Los Angeles.

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A Simple Ritual for Menstruation

Long treated as a source of shame and impurity, menstruation is once again coming to be regarded as a sacred process and state of being. Rituals and celebrations for menarche and menopause aren't quite as rare as they were a generation ago, and those of us who menstruate are finding that we can talk more openly about the process.

However, although it's increasingly easy to find rituals for menarche and menopause, and although practices like ritual baths mark the end of each month's cycle, it's harder to find rituals that mark the beginning. The moment when the cervix opens and the first blood emerges is significant--for example, the first day of a pregnant person's last period is used to calculate their due date--yet most of us mark it with little more than a hurriedly placed tampon or pad.

When I first thought about designing a ritual for the first day of menstruation, I knew I'd need something simple. I always feel sleepy and lethargic when my period starts, and the last thing I want to do is a complicated ritual with lots of props and lengthy prayers. So, here's a short and sweet ritual that takes minimal effort, inspired by the practices in Anita Diamant's The Red Tent.

You'll need:
A menstrual cup or a biodegradable napkin
Red wine or grape juice
A potted plant, if you don't have access to land
A chalice, if you have one (otherwise any cup is fine)

On the first day of your cycle, insert the cup or wear the napkin long enough to collect some blood. Pour the wine or grape juice into the chalice or cup.

Take the blood and wine/grape juice out into your yard, the woods, or any outdoor area where you'll have some privacy. Alternately, sit down in front of the plant.

Once you're settled, bury the napkin or pour the blood onto the earth. Then drink the wine or grape juice.

That's it! Easy peasy, right? Of course, everything that occurs around those two actions is an opportunity to make the ritual your own. You can spend some time silently meditating. You can say any prayers or blessings that come to you. You can set an intention for the coming cycle or express gratitude for the last one. You can sing, dance, drum, howl at the moon--anything you feel called to do. The heart of the ritual is the simple exchange of life-giving fluids between you and the earth: giving your blood to the soil to help the plants grow, and taking in the grapes produced by that same soil. (Well, maybe not literally the same soil, unless you own a vineyard.) In performing this exchange, you're strengthening your connection with the earth and the ecosystems around you. You can even think of a grape as a little womb, giving the potential for life to the tiny seed inside.

Feels a lot holier than flushing your blood down the toilet, no?

Here's to healthy, happy, and holy menstrual cycles!

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Asa is a sliding-scale tarot reader, intuitive, and witch blending pellar craft with animism and earth-based Judaism. Instagram: @tarotbyasa

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